Parnall and Adams Law has a contract to serve as special prosecutors for certain crimes of domestic violence. Prosecution is a fundamental judicial component to protecting our community, protecting the vulnerable, and ideally leading to accountability and healing. This process, this concept, undoubtedly takes a whole community to break the cycle of violence and support those that experience this trauma. Those People (professionals and volunteers) that work in the field in any capacity know that it is a daunting, depressing, and sometimes disappointing process.
In addition to many other efforts, these are a few key concepts that should be a routine part of the investigative process:
- Immediate advocacy;
- Trauma informed care by all involved including law enforcement;
- Social services involvement if children are involved (this is where the cycle continues if unaddressed);
- Proper charging and identifying red flags for possible future intimate partner homicide (i.e. habitual offenders, strangulation and use of guns);
- Lots of counseling, support, help, and guidance – which unfortunately isn’t always available; and
- Last but not least, not declining to prosecute because of “lack of victim cooperation.” That concept in itself sheds the light of ignorance that exists in the system regarding the lack of understanding as to why IT IS THE HARDEST THING for a victim/survivor to leave her abuser. Not just because of love, children, the fear of being alone, but because most intimate partner homicides happen in the process of trying to leave. Power, manipulation, and misogyny are the tools that the abuser carries in his pocket to remind her who is in charge.
Our approach in addressing this societal and systemic failure in responding to power and control is to also use training to raise awareness about the many shortcomings that exist in our system and how victims and their loved ones can effectively advocate for the victims. David Adams has presented hundreds of times on this topic and continues to do so as an effort to bring a voice to those who have been shunned by our system. Most recently he presented at an advocacy event for the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women whom he has partnered with for over 10 years. David will present at a public safety summit at the end of June and serve as faculty for the Southwest Center for Law and Policy in July at the University of Wisconsin Law School to teach on best practices to responding to crimes that impact women and children.
Thank you to all advocates and providers that have dedicated their career and life to this important cause. It is sometimes a thankless job and empathy fatigue and vicarious trauma can be overwhelming. Send some love to those work tirelessly to help others so maybe she has a chance at starting again.